Juniper Buys Ankeena to Better Compete Against Cisco

Juniper Networks (JNPR), the second-largest networking gear maker behind Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), is buying privately held Ankeena Networks to help operators handle soaring Internet video demand.

Juniper did not disclose any of the transaction’s details, expect to say it’s paying less than $100 million for Ankeena.

The deal pits Juniper even more directly against Cisco, and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), since Ankeena makes video-streaming software. Vendors in the communications industry are bulking up their product lines with equipment that lets service providers eliminate video jitter and disruption.

Ankeena’s executives will join Juniper as soon as the acquisition closes; they’ll work in the business software group. Ankeena, based in Santa Clara, Calif., was founded in 2008 as Nokeena Networks. Its financial backers include Clearstone Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and Trinity Ventures.

The Ankeena takeover speaks to Juniper’s strategy to create an even stronger Cisco rival. It’s also not the first move in that vein. Earlier this year, Juniper partnered with Polycom Inc. to improve the quality of telepresence and videoconferencing services for carriers and cable companies.

Shares of Juniper closed down .79 percent on Thursday at $31.24. The company’s 52-week high stands at $31.87.

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